Friday, February 27, 2009

A "Transformed Treasure" in Progress

The tale of the "Trash to Treasure" art piece....

I was invited to participate in a fundraiser called "Transformed Tresures". It's purpose is to raise funds for Salvation Army & its many facets. It's right up my alley as you get to use junk, er treasure, you may have collected & turn it into something someone might pay big bucks for at an auction. I recruited my friend & fellow-artist, Sherrill, to help me shop & create. We'd like to have our piece in the live auction as it usually raises more money for the non-profit & the pieces tend to be more interesting & high calibar. Hopefully we'll meet these expectations.

This is a cool event because they also give the artists $50 in coupons to spend at the army outlets. Whoo- Hoo! It's unusual for a non-profit to give anything to the donating artists ~ I've donated hundreds of pieces to non-profit events. I'm such a push-over & after many years I still find it hard to say "no" especially when they're giving us money (OK ~ coupons) to spend!
Sherrill & I started with an UGLY 3 drawer chest. It had been painted many times, had no handles/knobs, was really ugly (oh, I said that already). The pros of this chest are that it's a nice size, is all wood & we thought it had potential to be a great piece of furniture for a lucky buyer's home. So far the transformation has included paint inside & out, mosaic to the top, creative knobs & more so stay tuned!

Here's a close-up of the top.

Sherrill found some plates that grapes & leaves around the edge so I used these as a border on the top of the chest. I also bought a round, handpainted, trivet for 50 cents & a large platter with grapes & wine labels for $20 ~ which seemed high but was good shape. Looks like we have a grape & wine theme going. The mosiac will be grouted after the mastic is dry.

We're hoping to finish this piece up in the next couple of weeks when Sherrill is back in Anchorage. It's taking up space in the studio & goodness knows I need the space for the next project.

I'm curious about how other artists organize their materials & work space. I like to think I'm organized but when I'm working on a particular piece things get messy! Hummm....something to contemplate.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Quick Bee Update

This past Sunday I decided to do a quick check on my two bee hives. The bees are alive in one of my hives! When I bent down to press my ear against the side of the hive I could hear healthy buzzing! This is a huge accomplishment ~ for them! I feel like a proud momma. The temperature is still hovering in the 30's but the days have been bright & sunny so the temperature in the hive is probably fairly cozy.
I cleaned & re-filled the top feeder with syrup but now I've learned that that will probably add too much moisture. Moisture is bad, very bad, in the winter. So later today in the warmth of the sun, I went out to remove the top feeder & instead give them granulated sugar & a pollen patty. Yumm, doesn't that sound good? Here's a picture of the top of the frames & a pollen patty being put on top. The bees were very active & came right up to see what was going on.
On the right is a picture of the bees from my other hive. Unfortunately they were not healthy & it looks like they died some time ago. This hive was always very chaotic & aggressive. They swarmed around July & then raised a new queen. I let them continue on this path and thought I'd try to help get them ready for the winter. The upper brood box was full of dead bees eventhough there was 4 or 5 frames full of honey. I cleaned out the frames & dumped the corpses on the snow ~ food for the birds! It's been a feast in my front yard today.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Anchorage Accordion Club ~

Yeah ~ I'm looking forward to my big night out at my Accordion Accordion Club meeting!

It's a great group of people ~ some of who just play for fun & others who have an interest in performing. We usually meet the first & third friday of the month at BP to practice. We have members from around the state & when they're in town they sometimes pop-in & play.

You can also check-out our group, see when & where we practice, & join us for gigs at our Yahoo group site. You can view the site or pay a small membership fee & have access to all the files which includes sheet music.

Bring your box & join us!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Calling all Gardeners & Beekeepers!

There's been lots of attention in the news recently about the plight of the honey bees & colony collaspe disorder. Here's a great opportunity if you're a beekeeper &/or gardener. It's also a great way to get kids involved in the garden while participating in a little scientific research. It's called The Great Sunflower Project.

Basically, this non-profit sends you free sunflower seeds (Lemon Queen), you plant them & then observe when honey bees are visiting the plants & thus pollinating the plants. By watching and recording the bees at sunflowers in your garden, you can help gather information to gain and understand the challenges that bees are facing. You can either report your findings by email or snail mail. Seeds are sent out in late February & again in early Spring 2009. Just in time to plant!

The reasons to participate:
It takes less than 30 minutes.
It's easy.

Free Sunflower seeds for planting or buy your own ~
LEMON Queen only because the bees love this sunflower.
No knowledge of bees required!
Great learning opportunity! You are helping research the plight of the honey bee.

The brown sunflower picture & the picture at the right are pictures from my garden last summer. Don't buy the hybrid & colored sunflowers because the bees don't like them ~ they're only produced for their color ~ not their seeds or pollen. The other picture is my son, Will & our dog Rudi-Pa-Tuti. They're standing by my beautiful Bee Balm that the honey bees go crazy for!

I hope you participate & thank you in advance for sending in your research for this important environmental study!

Did you hear the one about...

I love accordion jokes. They make me chuckle & want to email them to all my accordion playing friends. Yes, I have friends who also play the accordion.
I think the accordion is one of the most misunderstood instruments while being the most challenging & fun instrument to play. It's used in all styles of music & NOT just polkas. Don't get me started on the whole accordion, polkas & lady of spain thing!
For some reason all the accordion jokes I find have men playing the accordion. Usually, the men are white, overweight & old. It's an accordion sterotype.
Have any accordion jokes? Come'on share!

Sunday, February 8, 2009


I've just been doing a little Tarot Tune-Up for myself & learned some interesting things. This year, 2009, my year card is the number 7 which corresponds to the "Chariot" major arcana card. Number 7 is also William's soul card. He & I are going to have a very interesting year!

The number 7 has been my favorite number since I was a child. While studying astrology, tarot, & mythological history I realized the power of 7. I wrote the number Seven above in green because all the numbers have always been in color ~ do you see the numbers in color? A psychic once told me that the number 7 is the number of crazy changes ~ like the warrior woman driving the chariot pulled by steeds or the magical winged animals in the Motherpeace tarot deck ~ you'd better hold on for the ride!

The Motherpeace book also says that Seven is considered a sacred, mystical number, embodying a sense of completion & accomplishment, as in the magical seven planets of the ancients & the seven notes of the musical scale. The Chariot represents groundedness & the ability to accomplish tasks on the physical plane (good for a Virgo like me!). It traditionally symbolizes a victory of self-discipline.

The Motherpeace goes on to say that, "you carry the tools of the warrior."  Yes, I have my glass cutter, my kilns & my torch!  The Motherpeace says, "the Chariot belongs to the activist. You can harness the energies you need to accomplish your task."

This card & number are closely linked to Athene who in peacetime is the goddess of skills, handicrafts & the healing arts & in war time tames the horses to draw the Chariot to battle.

Seven is the number of colors in the rainbow & the number of musical notes. The number of Seven reminds us that there is symetry, order & reason within the structure of the universe. Even when things seem chaotic there is a pervasive network of structure that is comforting.

For me all of this fits my current change in business, lifestyle & family. I closed my retail gallery after 10 successful years, my wholesale business is growing & my son is spending his days full-time with Mommy. I'm looking forward to harnessing new energy & spending more time with my own little lucky number 7!

Saturday, February 7, 2009


In honor of Mt Redoubt I've used a picture of it as my header. Don't worry, your eyesight isn't blurry I just haven't figured out how to reconfigure a photo correctly yet. Anyway, Redoubt is at code orange today as it's still rocking & rolling. Stay tuned...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Reflections on February

I was just scrolling through some pictures from last February & came across this photo of a moose strolling bye my front gate. I hope he appreciates the custom glass inserts that I made.

These are large panels that each measure approximately 30" X 36. I reallly like having the two gates that open into our front walkway. The glass is Bullseye Glass, about 3 layers of double rolled with copper inserts. There's little honey bees flying around the leaves & colored highlights. On a sunny day the sun shines through the glass & we have a rainbow on the walk & plants.

Entering the gates, we have a lovely perennial garden that lines the walk & I keep my two beehives in the front garden. I've tried to propagate plants that the bees will visit such as bee balm, poppies, hyssop, dandolines, clover....yes, you read that right I now encourage dandolines & clover in my grass! It makes for a light & flavorful honey.

Speaking of beehives ~ the bee season is coming up! I just ordered two 4 lb packages of bees for the spring. The packages usually arrive in mid April. I did try to over winter my existing two hives but I'm not to hopeful for them as the weather has been so wacky.

More on the bees, gardening, glass, & spring....soon ~

Mt. Redoubt at Twilight Time

You may have read in the news that Mt. Redoubt is threatening to erupt. We're on volcano watch & stocking up on masks just in case it decides to blow. The last time it was active was about 10 years ago & it had a large impact on the airlines as the ash drifted into the flight patterns. It effectively shut down Anchorage International Airport & grounded travel for many days. 

For health reasons it's good to stay in doors or if you have to go out you need to wear a mask. The ash is very abrasive & it can do serious damage to your vehicle ~ both the mechanics & the paint. Hopefully, it'll just keep rumbling & then settle down.

I'm all settled into my new diggs so I'm not venturing out unless it necessary! I love this photo of the mountain. It looks so beautiful & calm but look out ~ who knows whats lurking below.